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New England Telehealth Consortium Tops 250 Healthcare Facilities on Network

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SOURCE FairPoint Communications, Inc.

FairPoint Communications and NETC plan to ultimately connect more than 300 healthcare facilities in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont

PORTLAND, Maine, June 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The New England Telehealth Consortium (NETC), which is working with FairPoint Communications to link healthcare facilities in northern New England to the NETC network, recently made its 250th connection. FairPoint is providing Carrier Ethernet Services (CES) to the NETC sites in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont offering data transport speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. 

NETC is a consortium of healthcare providers whose mandate is to create a shared network among rural and urban healthcare facilities across the region. NETC was founded by Jim Rogers, president of ProInfoNet, an independent consulting firm located in Bangor, Maine. Rogers was able to secure a $24.6 million Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rural Health Care Pilot Program award to bring telemedicine to the region. The NETC award was the largest award issued by the FCC under the Rural Health Care Pilot Program (RHCPP). Participants are eligible to receive funding for up to 85 percent of the costs associated with constructing the network and the services provided by the network.

Rogers originally thought that NETC would not be able to get the bulk of its services from one service provider. However, because FairPoint has invested more than $700 million in its communications infrastructure and technology in northern New England since 2008, including building thousands of miles of new fiber across the region,  it had NETC's service needs almost completely covered.  In addition to FairPoint, eight other vendors provide other services including, Internet and Internet2 access, router equipment and the NETC network operations center support.

"We are pleased with the progress we are making with connections to more than 250 healthcare facilities to the NETC network," said Rogers. He added, "NETC offers healthcare providers a sustainable, quality broadband network that will greatly improve the capability and efficiency of healthcare in northern New England. The network created is enabling all the NETC institutions to share information that will benefit patients all across the region."                      

"FairPoint's investment means that we have the facilities to serve NETC's needs," said Mike Reed, Maine state president for FairPoint Communications.  "Our network is designed and built as a data network to move large files quickly and efficiently. The bottom line is the network can deliver the bandwidth each facility wants and needs."                                                                     

As a result of the RHCPP award, NETC participants are receiving funding for upgrades and improvements to their broadband capabilities and connections, while paying only 15 percent of the costs. Healthcare facilities linked to NETC's network can instantly share potentially life-saving information by delivering telemedicine capabilities. 

"MaineGeneral has leased several data circuits through the NETC program and these circuits have become valuable to our on-going data transport needs," said Daniel Burgess, MaineGeneral Health's vice president and CIO. "The installation process was timely and smooth, done professionally and effectively. We are pleased with the results and proud to be part of this effort which has brought additional capacity at very competitive rates."

Rogers indicated he would like to duplicate the NETC model elsewhere. As a result, he formed HealthConnect Networks to navigate the new FCC Healthcare Connect Fund process to implement subsidized fast, stable, and secure healthcare data networks. "The FCC's vision and goal was to support the deployment of a nationwide broadband health care network, focusing in the rural areas of the country where support is needed the most," he said. "We believe we have developed a successful model that can be used in other areas of the country."

A list of the facilities that have been connected to the NETC network can be found at: http://www.netelc.org/sites.html

About FairPoint Communications, Inc.
FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: FRP) provides advanced data, voice and video technologies to single and multi-site businesses, public and private institutions, consumers, wireless companies and wholesale re-sellers in 17 states.  Leveraging an owned, fiber-core Ethernet network - including more than 16,000 route miles of fiber in northern New England - FairPoint has the network coverage, scalable bandwidth and transport capacity to support enhanced applications, including the next generation of mobile and cloud-based communications, such as small cell wireless backhaul technology, voice over IP, data center colocation services, managed services and disaster recovery.  For more information, visit www.FairPoint.com.

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